Colorado College Campus Safety setup camp in Worner Campus Center this week for CC’s annual Safety Week. Blue booths and blue uniforms spanned the floor, providing information on topics about general safety. One focus of these topics regarded active assailant training and what a CC student might be expected to do in the case of an intruder emergency.
Colorado College Campus Resource Officer Marty Toland commented on the unfortunate relevancy of these active assailant conversations.
“Obviously the stuff that has happened nationwide with the horrific and violent events at some schools has been on a lot of people’s minds, as it should be,” Toland said. He continued, however, by recognizing the overall safety of CC. “At the same time, I want to caution that it still is a very safe place, to be here at CC,” Toland said. “The chances are extremely minute that anything even related to events like that would even happen here. When you look at all the institutions all over the country, statistically, you’re much more likely to deal with inclement weather, a fuel spill, a power outage.”
According to Toland, though the chances of an active assailant intruding on CC’s campus are slim, it is important to arm community members with procedural awareness of emergency action.
In the emergency event of an intruder, CC utilizes a three-step technique accepted by colleges across the country called “Run, Hide, and Fight.” Associate Director of campus safety Nick Calkins elaborated on the general structure of this technique.
“First inclination is try to evacuate whatever space you’re in,” Calkins began. “As soon as we get information about a viable situation that’s happening on campus, we’ll be sending out emergency mass notifications using the RAVE notification system.”
Calkins could not provide information on what directions would be ordered, as they would be specific to circumstances. “You’re going to get out, get somewhere safe, somewhere you’re protected,” Calkins said. “Then if you have additional information, you can call into Campus Safety using that RAVE Guardian messaging system. You can also call 911 and the Colorado Springs Police Department would notify Campus Safety.
Guidelines for the “Run” segment of this procedure include: having an escape route in mind, leaving belongings behind, evacuating regardless of others agreeing to follow, helping others escape, and refraining from moving wounded people.
“Hide is going to be for if people think that they can’t evacuate the area or if they receive a message to shelter in place,” Calkins said. “That means that you’re going to secure whatever room you’re in, the best way that you can.” He suggests blocking the entrance in any means possible, as assailants often search for easy targets.
“The ‘Fight’ part of the plan is to be prepared if someone actually comes into the room and the situation is down to your life versus the life of the attacker,” Calkins continued. “You have to be prepared to engage that person and fight for your life. You have to take whatever measures have to be taken to secure your life and anybody else’s life in that room.”
Though the “Fight” aspect of this technique is critical to follow in these extreme situations, Calkins and Toland emphasized that it only comes into play as a last resort to protect yourself. While CC offers personal defense classes, campus safety also encourages taking risk-avoidance classes regarding personal safety and verbal de-escalation.
CC does not require campus safety to teach Active Assailant Training to the whole com-munity, however, Calkins and Toland make it clear that if asked, campus safety will provide infor-mation to as many people willing to receive it. “I do think it’s really good, empowering information to get out to as many groups as possible,” Toland said. “I will give a presentation to two people or to 200 people basically on a moment’s notice.”
Thus, Toland encourages community members to reach out to him if interested in learning more. “I would caution people to enjoy life, realize that they’re here, that they’re safe, and [that] it’s a beautiful thing to be on Colorado College’s campus,” Toland said. “But at the same time, some information is empowering.”